spiders have flown

spiders 2

The garden spiders have flown the coop, and set up all round the garden. I don’t know how many of their little webs I had to scoop out of the deck before I started staining it.

(incidentally, if you like spider pics, Opo Terser makes wonderful ones. My desktop now features this little cutie [caution: will squick out arachnophobes])

spiders on their birthday

spiders on their birthday
We found thousands of these yellow and black spider hatchlings in the garden this morning. Happy birthday, little spiders!

They are apparently (European) Garden Spiders, Araneus diadematus.

(I over colour-corrected the original photo; it’s here if you preferred it.)

a big fan of picasa

I’ve just started using Picasa, and its ease of use is great. It does all you (well, okay, I) really need of a photo editor, with some nice effects. It also does cool things like handle raw images, and uses Google Earth to geotag images. Here’s one I prepared earlier:

not so clean

Took the D70 in for a sensor clean to Vistek. Pretty decent that they they could do a sensor clean for $35, I thought.

But I’m back on the stretcar for a reclean – they missed a huge macule which is obvious even printed at postcard size. Add four TTC trips each visit, I guess I didn’t get such a bargain.

the bird that you can see

We had a wildlife day today. At breakfast, we had a large raccoon amble across the deck. At lunchtime when I was setting up the grill, this large hawk was looming above me:

bird1.jpg

bird2.jpg

bird3.jpg

What alerted me was the skrrt, skrrt of it rubbing its beak on the aerial, as in the last picture. Once it had finished gnawing on its recently deceased dinner, it sat about for a bit (quite literally fed up) seeming unperturbed by me sticking a big ol’ lens at it. But then, if you had Leatherman tools for hands and tin-snips for a face, you wouldn’t be worried about anyone trying to mess with you either.

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 02007

Ned Hanlan

My Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 02007 gallery for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day.I made an f/90 pinhole lens for the D70 today. Results are not bad. True pinhole freaks will decry the fact that I could just sight through the SLR viewfinder, so all of the images are uncropped.

I also took a roll on my Zero 2000 120 rollfilm pinhole camera. I have to take the film into Toronto Image Works to see the results.

Man, but do pinhole lenses resolve the grot on your DSLR sensor!

all the cameras I’ve ever owned

In approximate chronological order:

  • Kodak A-1 — got for Christmas or birthday when I was about 8, probably after being insufferable that my sister had a spiffy little Voigtländer Vitoret. Took 110 film and those awful flash strips. Was disappointed when wildlife photos taken with it (fixed focus, fixed aperture, fixed shutter speed) didn’t work too well. Those tiny brown things were supposed to be sparrows, dammit!
  • Panasonic AF thing — I don’t actually remember having a camera through my teens, and I think I got this just before going to Japan. I took hundreds of pictures with it, but barely remember anything about it.
  • Pentax MX — my first serious camera, and one I really regret getting rid of when I discovered the realities of Negative Cash Flow when I moved to Glasgow G1 in the mid-1990s. I had three lenses; 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, and 135mm f/3.5. A very small SLR, it worked a charm; except, that is after coming back from Fair Isle when the salt jammed the innards. It was fine after a CLA.
  • Lubitel 166Jessop’s were selling these for £19. It acquainted me with the dreadful packaging and unique smell of Eastern Bloc photographic equipment. It also introduced me to squinty focussing and rampant vignetting that this camera is well known for. Sold on eBay before we left Scotland for about fifty quid; miracles will seldom (if ever) cease.
  • Minox 35GT — lovely, tiny, but too delicate for my ham-hands and careless ways. Bought on the recommendation of my sister’s then-fiancé. Managed to crack the top plate and focus ring; oops.
  • FED 5B — Think I got this early ’93; a spectacularly shoddy Leica-clone rangefinder. I’d heard about eastern camera copies whilst on Fair Isle, and tracked down someone in Russia on rec.photo who’d sell me one for £50. I sent off my cash in late 1992, and heard nothing for months. I really thought I’d been scammed, and gave up the money for lost. Months later, a small box arrived; it was the FED box with my address written on the back, still sealed. No wrapping. Manual in Русский (or perhaps Українська; my script-fu has never been strong). It worked fine for one film, then the focal plane synch went south. Managed to get it repaired in a magical old-time repair shop just off George Square (Peterson’s?) run by an ancient camera-wizard with a heavy European accent. In true magical ways, the store was gone the next time I looked for it. Sold on ebay for a derisory £20.
  • Fujifilm DX-5 — my first digital camera! All of 640×480 resolution, too! Wasn’t quite state of the art by the time I bought it, but cheap things from Morgan’s seldom are.
  • Yashica T5 — I probably most regret selling this of any camera. Tack-sharp and contrasty Zeiss Tessar T* lens; nifty waist-level finder. Only a so-so AF system, but very small and solid, like a budget Contax. Sold before moving to Canada. These have subsequently rocketed up in price, so my casual interest in them doesn’t warrant buying one.
  • Fujifilm MX-1200 — 1.3 megapixel; w00t! I still actually have this, and it amazes me how nifty I thought this was when I see how clunky and slow it feels now. Bought from Morgan in Brum; I seem to remember actually walking from Cobuild’s office to the store to get it.
  • Voigtländer Bessa-R— of all the cameras I’ve ever owned, I think I’ve had the most lenses for this one. Was a bit sad to see it go (trade-in for the D70), but I took many (good?) photos with it. The lenses I owned (not all at once) were:
    • Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/3.5 — a lens so good I kept it after selling the body.
    • Snapshot-Skopar 25mm f/4 — never got the hang of this one. Sold it very soon after getting it with the camera.
    • “Pancake” Color-Skopar 35mm f/2.5
    • Ultron Aspherical 35mm f/1.7.
    • Nokton 50mm f/1.5
    • Color-Heliar 75mm f/2.5
    • APO Lanthar 90mm f/3.5
  • Yashica-Mat — an eBay purchase from a market trader in Hemel Hempstead. Was a bit beat up, and had the wrong size of case, and occasionally misfired, but a pleasantly solid unit. Took some early photos in Canada with it, but it mostly sat around. Discovered, on trading in in 2004, that the taking lens was a spider-web of fungus.
  • Yashica Electro 35GT — nice lens, and can meter down to almost nothing. Auto-exposure only, and handles flair, um, creatively. Really quiet shutter, but (on mine at least) the meter circuitry made a weird groaning noise. I used a Yashica Guy battery; you might want to too.
  • Voigtländer Vitoret 110EL — I actually had two of these. One was very beat-up, while the other was absolutely mint, complete with flash. It’s a shame that 110 film was almost dead by the time I got this, as it was an ultra-stealth camera and had great metering.
  • Olympus mju/Stylus Infiniti — I was carrying my Bessa-R everywhere wrapped in (what I thought was) an adequately-padded hat when I discovered that the rigours of the TTC had induced a ding in the top plate. Immediately rushed out to buy a 35mm compact that I wouldn’t cry over if it broke. The mju was my carry-about camera for years (even after I went digital). I think I still have an unprocessed film from it. Traded in mid-2004 as a (tiny) part of the D70.
  • Nikon CoolPix 2500 — first digital camera in Canada. Bought when I worked across the road from Black’s HQ in Markham, so got it at one of their tent sales. Not a bad wee camera, but a little slow so you sometimes missed a shot or photographed your feet.
  • Zero Image 2000 — beautiful wooden pinhole camera which I bought from Karen Nakamura. She’s too kind about some of the imagery I’ve made with it. It’ll get a good workout on the 29th of this month.
  • Pentacon six TL — a huge brick of a camera, but the lens was unspectacular, and the innards too fragile. Partly traded-in for the D70. I still have my info page on the Pentacon six TL.
  • Voigtländer Bessa-L — I never actually used this. I bought it from Stephen Gandy to use with the 15mm Super Wide Heliar (along with a Kaidan pano head), and sold it on eBay.
  • Zorki — an eBay purchase, but there was a spool missing. The guys at russianplaza refunded me without question.
  • Nikon D70 — you don’t want to know how much I paid for this, but I have had it since summer 2004 and had great use from it.
  • Sony Cybershot P100 — this was my first (and probably only) peacock-blue camera. Henry’s had this for $200 less than the silver model.
  • ThreeEyeFish digital minicam — makes a Lomo look like a Leica.
  • Panasonic Lumix LX2 — what a lovely looking camera! Shame about the operation …

Splodges Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

Guess I’ll have to work on my sensor cleaning game, ‘cos this is what I see (a blue sky, with contrast racked way up, and at 2x scale) on the bottom right of my D70 sensor:

post-cleaning splodges on the sensor of my D70

The other troublesome marks are gone, so I guess it kinda works. I used the American Recorder Digital Sensor Swab Kit from Henry’s, and the mirror lock up instructions from brams.dk.

Y’know, that pattern of splodges looks awfully like the indentations on the end of the swab …

no nimh joy in my speedlight

I wonder why my Nikon SB-600 won’t work with (expensive) Panasonic 2300mAh HHR-3SPA NiMH cells? It loves Duracells to death, but won’t even fire once with the rechargeables.

(Oh, and wish me luck; I’m about to clean my the sensor on my D70 for the first time.)

It’s pouring at Erie Shores

Pouring a turbine foundation, Erie Shores Windfarm
I was at Erie Shores on Wednesday, and this is the first turbine base of this size I’ve seen poured. They’re pretty big, but then, they do have to support a 77m diameter turbine on an 80m tower.

The picture’s taken from here.

teh wide!

Big TrainThe Wrong End of a Field Gun
A couple of test images from my Sigma 10–20mm lens. You have to get really close to things; for example, the front element of the lens was about a hand’s breadth away from the muzzle of the field gun.

The lens handles flare pretty well (the Super Wide Heliar 15mm sometimes went to pieces), and the D70 meters the wide lens accurately. I’m happy.

thanksgiven

chez Bowyer
Belated thanks to the Bowyer family for inviting us over to their home near Wingham for Thanksgiving. We had the best time, and I took too many pictures — the image above links to a gallery.

nice scaling

My Nikon D70 makes images that are too large for the web, so I have to scale them down. Most image scaling routines use simple linear interpolation, which can lose a lot of detail, but some packages use cubic scaling. This keeps most of the detail.

I was looking for a scriptable cubic routine, and I found it in Image::Magick, aka perlmagick. The syntax is simple:

$x = $image->Resize(geometry => '50%',
                    filter => 'Cubic');

I used this routine to resize my 2004 Ontario Renfest pictures.

Saving me the bother

I was going to start documenting my experiences with the Nikon D70 and Linux on a wiki of my own, but it looks like there’s a better place to do it: the Digital Photography and Linux wiki.

It’s slightly out of date, but we can fix that.